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Bitzlato’s Hidden Empire Exposed, Founder Pleads Guilty to Money-Laundering

{ Bitzlato, Cryptocurrency exchange, Ransomware, Cybercrime, Anatoly Legkodymov, Darknet transactions, Cryptocurrency laundering, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Chainalysis report, Illicit cryptocurrency activity, Hydra Market, Crypto scams, Money laundering concern, Digital currency crime, Cryptocurrency regulations, Criminal proceedings, Global law enforcement, Europol, Cybersecurity, Crypto takedown.}

Russian national Anatoly Legkodymov, also known as “Gandalf” and “Tolik,” has recently pleaded guilty to orchestrating the Bitzlato cryptocurrency exchange, a platform implicated in laundering over $700 million for ransomware gangs and cybercriminals.

 Bitzlato, Cryptocurrency exchange, Ransomware, Cybercrime, Anatoly Legkodymov

Bitzlato’s Dark Web Ties Unveiled

The Guilty Plea

As a co-founder and principal stakeholder of Bitzlato, Legkodymov has committed to disbanding the cryptocurrency exchange and forfeiting approximately $23 million in seized assets, as specified in the plea agreement.

Illicit Activity and Identity Theft

Bitzlato’s management, including Legkodymov, allegedly possessed knowledge of widespread illicit activities within the exchange. Numerous users were found to have registered using stolen identities, taking advantage of the lax user registration process that explicitly stated, “neither selfies nor passports [are] required.”

Deficient KYC Procedures

Bitzlato’s deficient know-your-customer (KYC) procedures created a haven for criminal proceeds. The Justice Department pointed out that the lax identification requirements facilitated the influx of funds intended for criminal activities.

Cryptocurrency Transactions and Illicit Gains

Chainalysis Report

According to a Chainalysis report, Bitzlato processed over $2 billion in cryptocurrency transactions from 2019 to 2021. Shockingly, nearly 48% of this amount, totalling approximately $966 million, was linked to illicit and high-risk cryptocurrency transactions.

Darknet, Scams, and Ransomware

The report highlights the sources of these illicit gains, with $206 million coming from darknet markets, $224.5 million from scams, and $9 million from ransomware attacks.

Hydra Market Connection

The collaboration between Bitzlato and Hydra Market resulted in the exchange of more than $700 million until the market’s shutdown due to law enforcement seizures in April 2022.

 Bitzlato, Cryptocurrency exchange, Ransomware,

International Crackdown and Financial Condemnation

Global Law Enforcement Action

Collaborating with Europol and partners in Spain, Portugal, and Cyprus, French authorities dismantled Bitzlato’s digital infrastructure and seized its domains in January.

FinCEN’s Declaration

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) officially labelled Bitzlato as a “primary money laundering concern.” This designation, made in January, points to the exchange’s involvement in illicit Russian financial activities.

Global Threat and Disruption

FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das emphasized Bitzlato’s global threat, stating that it enables Russian cybercriminals to launder the proceeds of their theft. The agency is committed to evolving strategies to disrupt these networks.

Legal Ramifications

Prison Time Looms

Anatoly Legkodymov, held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since his arrest on January 18 in Miami, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The guilty plea and the subsequent dismantling of Bitzlato’s operations mark a significant stride in the ongoing battle against cybercrime. As authorities continue to adapt to evolving criminal tactics, the case underscores the importance of international collaboration in combating illicit activities within the cryptocurrency landscape.

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FAQs about Bitzlato’s Downfall

1. What led to Bitzlato’s takedown by law enforcement?
Bitzlato’s extensive involvement in illicit financial activities, coupled with its ties to ransomware groups, prompted coordinated international action to dismantle the exchange.

2. How much money was laundered through Bitzlato?
Over $700 million was laundered through Bitzlato, with various sources including darknet markets, scams, and ransomware attacks.

3. Why did FinCEN designate Bitzlato as a “primary money laundering concern”?
FinCEN cited Bitzlato’s role in facilitating illicit transactions for ransomware actors in Russia, contributing to the laundering of Convertible Virtual Currency (CVC).

4. What was the collaboration between Bitzlato and Hydra Market?
Bitzlato and Hydra Market facilitated the exchange of more than $700 million in cryptocurrency until the market’s shutdown in April 2022.

5. How did Bitzlato’s lax KYC procedures contribute to criminal activities?
Bitzlato’s minimal identification requirements allowed criminals to register using stolen identities, creating an environment conducive to criminal proceeds.

6. What is the significance of Legkodymov’s guilty plea?
Legkodymov’s plea marks a crucial step in holding those responsible for Bitzlato’s operations accountable, signalling a win in the fight against cybercrime.


The downfall of Bitzlato serves as a stark reminder of the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency-related crimes. As authorities crack down on such activities, it highlights the necessity for stringent regulations and global collaboration to curb the misuse of digital assets.


The information presented in this article on CryptoWini is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not to be considered as professional advice or a substitute for consultation with experts in the relevant field. The details provided about Bitzlato, cryptocurrency exchanges, and related topics are based on available public information and sources deemed reliable. However, readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and verification before making any financial or legal decisions.

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Founder Confesses! Bitzlato’s Dark Secrets Exposed!
Founder Confesses! Bitzlato’s Dark Secrets Exposed!